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John McQueen

Tinkering with Nature

Course Description
There are wonderful ways out there in the world to reorder what we see and to make it evident in objects constructed from nature. This class will emphasize ways to connect the material gathered using new and unusual connectors, both manufactured and found in the wild. The goal is to rebuild what we think we know into something unknown to us up until now. It will be an adventure into the nature of things and how we might improve on the unimproveable.

Skill Level
This course is designed for all levels of experience, from beginners to experienced artists. As John says, "I don't want everyone in there knowing more than the teacher. What is skill anyway? Maybe just doing something over and over."

Artist's Biography
John McQueen trained as a sculptor and earned his BA from the University of South Florida, and his MFA from Temple University in Philadelphia. As a contemporary fiber artist he uses willow branches and string to create stunning basket sculptures that are both humorous and subtle in their commentary. McQueen "weaves willow twigs into flat open work panels that are tied together with wax string and built into sculptural constructions. Some works are cage-like while others resemble familiar objects — a book, a desk calendar, a painting."

Artist's Statement
I began as a basketmaker and hold an MFA in weaving but found that baskets include much more than a pickupable container. I spend my time looking for what it is that keeps me searching for what I don’t know. This has led me into what many call sculpture, a term I find too confining. What I make is my reaction to what I encounter in the world, a world encompassing everything from trees standing in the forest to intellectual musings.

McQueen 1

McQueen 2

Supply List:
  • A big staple gun (the kind that carpenters use)
  • A hot glue gun
  • Any sticks or weeds which you find interesting
Most of the material to be used in class is to be found during the class. This runs the gamut from foraging in the forest to dumpster diving. Participants do need to bring what they consider appropriate hand tools. These could include scissors, clippers, trimmers, tape, string, knife, or whatever they think might be usable.